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The Open Source Mindset

Feb - 15 - 2010
Nicole C. Engard

Over my years of working with Koha and libraries using Koha I have learned a lot. One of those things is that libraries need to understand that switching to an open source ILS is a game changing experience. You no longer follow the same rules you followed when with a proprietary vendor – in so very many ways. Owen Leonard (who’s library has recently switched support vendors – but not their ILS software) has a post at the Koha Blog that talks about how libraries need to take ownership of their ILS when using open source.

One of the promises of using Koha or any other Open Source ILS is that you’re not tied any one support company. “No vendor lock-in.” But it’s important to understand that this isn’t a promise that libraries can take for granted–in particular, libraries who contract with a support company for hosting of their Koha system. We need to be aware of what that means in practical terms and be prepared to put that promise to the test when the time comes. There are steps that we can take to make sure we’re protecting our own interests.

Owen goes on to list the ways librarians can take ownership of their ILS:

  • Insist on access to your database
  • Know what’s going on in the background
  • Insist that any development you sponsor be released to the Koha community

Read the entire post for some awesome pointers on how to be in control of your system – after all you chose open source for a change – and that means much more than a software change.

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